Hang 'Em High isn't a great film by any means, and it's not a very remarkable Western. It's full of missed opportunities, and the end hints that there may have been plans for a franchise centered around Marshall Jed Cooper. It's notable because it was the first film Clint Eastwood produced with his Malpaso shingle, which he would obviously go onto do great things with. (Would there be an Unforgiven without Hang 'Em High? Probably, but who knows!) It's also his first post-Sergio Leone Western, and one of the first attempts to bring Leone's style to America. It doesn't succeed in doing that very well, though a lot of the Man with No Name's trademarks remained. I think Eastwood sold himself a bit short by relying on that cigar so much, particularly since this is a character who is miles away from the cold bounty hunter of the Leone flicks. Jed Cooper is a man who is genuinely trying to do the right thing in life, and gets screwed over again and again.
However, this film entertaining enough, and is worth watching just for the whole hanging sequence. I've already mentioned this film as the probable inspiration for Lt. Aldo Raine's hanging scar and while I'm still not sure if that's true or not, you can watch it and pretend Cooper is Raine's grandfather.
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